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22-Year Historycomputer championship.gifchampionship video; championship video, continued
Some deals from the championship

The 22nd World Computer-Bridge Championship attracted nine bridge bots, each entry playing as a team of four identical bots. This year’s contestants were two-time defending championship, Wbridge5 (France), last year’s runner up, Synrey Bridge (China), Micro Bridge (Japan), Q-Plus Bridge (Germany), Bridge Baron (USA), Shark Bridge (Denmark), Meadowlark Bridge (USA), RoboBridge (The Netherlands), and TCS BridgeBot (India).

The first stage, a 32-board round robin, ended with the top four bots, Wbridge5 (121.49 VPs), Micro Bridge (112.93), Synrey Bridge (108.21) and Q-Plus Bridge (97.51), advancing to the 64-board KO stage.

In two close semifinal matches Wbridge5 defeated Q-Plus Bridge by the margin of the carryover, 158.7 – 155 and Synrey Bridge bested Micro Bridge 87 – 78.7.  The final was a rematch between last year’s finalists, with the same result, Wbridge5 defeating Synrey Bridge, 150.9 – 132.

C0127.MP4.01_46_14_00.Still004.jpg
Coordinator Al Levy (left), presenting the trophy to Yves Costel, developer of Wbridge5. Gianarrigo Rona, WBF president congratulates Yves and the Synrey Bridge teams, Zhihui Shi and Yu Peng.

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Some deals follow.  For these and other deals, go to: Some deals from the championship

In a rematch of last year’s final KO, the last board of the match demonstrated the nature of robot play.

Board 64
Dealer: W
Vul: E-W
North
♠ 3
AQT2
AQT
♣ AT842
West
♠ QJT8
97
76543
♣ 75
East
♠ 942
K865
J92
♣ QJ3
South
♠ AK765
J43
K8
♣ K96
West
Synrey Bridge
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North
WBridge5
1♣
2
3NT
5♣ (0 or 3 KC).
.
East
Synrey Bridge
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass.
.
South
Wbridge5
1♠
2♠
4NT
6♣
.

opening lead 2

6♣ was reached at both tables, and at both tables the play was identical.  Declarer won the diamond ten, and set about stripping the hand,  spade king, spade ruff, diamond to the king, spade ruff, diamond ace, club ace, club king, and spade ace.  At both tables East ruffed and led a heart into declarer’s AQ, taking declarer off the end guess of an endplay of heart finesse.  Defending double dummy in the end game, both East’s could see declarer taking the winning position in either case.

As Barry Rigal notes in his editorial comment that this deal both shows the strength and weakness of bridge bots.  (see http://championships.worldbridge.org/orlandows18-files/bulletins/Bul_16.pdf)

Day by day happenings, along with some interesting deals

for these deals and others, see Some deals from the championship

Day 1

With the computers set up the night before, and the bots descending into the Grand Ballroom Salon 4, the championship officially began at 10 am.

The first two 32-board rounds of the round robin stage were completed.  Awarding 10 VPs for a bye, the standing, on a 20 VP scale, is:

Synrey Bridge, 40.00
Wbridge5, 37.31
Shark Bridge, 34.88
Bridge Baron, 26.94
Micro Bridge, 18.73
Q-Plus Bridge, 13/40
RoboBridge, 7.73
Meadowlark Bridge, 2.99
TCS BridgeBot, 0.00

TCS BridgeBot from India is a new entry this year. Generally, first time entries have difficulty, even if they employ good algorithms, as the concentration is on the play at the expense of working on bidding.

The TCS BridgeBot demonstrated good defense on the very first deal against reigning championship Wbridge5.

Board 1
Dlr: N
Vul: None
.
.
North
♠ T
AKJ853
952
♣ KQ9
West
♠ Q76
Q9
83
♣ AJT872
East
♠ J65
T64
AKQT
♣ 653
South
♠ AK9432
72
J764
♣ 4
West
TCS BridgeBot

Pass
All Pass
North
WBridge5
1
2
.
East
TCS BridgeBot
Pass
Pass
.
South
Wbridge5
1♠
3
.

Wbridge5 declared 3, which depended on avoiding a trump loser. TCS Bot played top diamonds and continued with a fourth round, thus promoting East’s trump 10 for the setting trick.  Nicely done and showing promise for a future competitive bot.

Day 2

After 4 rounds, the standing is:
Synrey Bridge, 74,35
Shark Bridge, 59.92
Micro Bridge, 58.73
Wbridge5, 58.58
Bridge Baron, 35.91
Q-Plus Bridge, 43.40
RoboBridge, 26.12
Meadowlark Bridge, 2.99
TCS BridgeBot, 0.00

Day 3

With two rounds to go in the 32-board round robin, the top four are shaping up.

Synrey Bridge, 104.57
Wbridge5, 99.63
Micro Bridge, 95.06
Shark Bridge, 86.80
Q-Plus Bridge, 83.87
RoboBridge, 62.22
Bridge Baron, 50.23
TCS BridgeBot, 28.07
Meadowlark Bridge, 19.55

Day 4

The semifinals are set:
Wbridge5 (+3.72) versus Q-Plus Bridge
Micro Bridge (+1.72) versus Synrey Bridge

(For a carryover, you must both win your head-to-head round robin match, and finish ahead of your opponent in the round robin standing.  The carryover is then the lesser of the VP difference in the round robin standings and the head-to-head match.)

The final standing of the 32-board round robin (bye=0):
Wbridge5 121.49 Q
Micro Bridge 112.93 Q
Synrey Bridge 108.21 Q
Q-Plus Bridge 97.51 Q
Shark Bridge 89.79
Bridge Baron 80.23
RoboBridge 65.68
TCS BridgeBot 32.61
Meadowlark Bridge 11.55

Day 5

Very close 64-board semifinal matches saw Wbridge 5 defeating Q-Plus Bridge by the margin of the carryover, 159-155 and Synrey Bridge defeating Micro Bridge 87-78.7.

Q-Plus Bridge picked up 14 IMPs on board 5 of the fourth quarter, on a board also played in the finals of the three major team championships.

Board 5
Dealer: N
Vul: N-S
North
♠ 875
JT976
875
♣ J7
West
♠ 64
AQ8
KQT432
♣T6
East
♠ AJT9
K5432
A
♣ AQ9
South
♠ KQ32

J96
♣ K85432
West
Q-Plus Bridge

3♣ ¹
5 ²
Pass
6NT
North
WBridge5
Pass
Pass
Pass
Dbl.
All Pass
East
Q-Plus Bridge
1
4NT
6
Pass.
.
South
Wbridge5
2♣
Pass
Pass
Pass
.

Opening lead   K, +990

Wbridge5 made the fatal mistake of doubling 6 with two sure trump tricks, as Q-Plus Bridge, warned of the bad trump break, bid 6NT which makes on any lead.  A safe diamond lead would be won by East, a heart to the ace, cashing two diamond winners and leading a spade to South’s honor and endplaying South for the twelfth trick.  At the other table Wbridge5 was in 6, down two, and 14 IMPs to Q-Plus Bridge.

In the other bot semifinal, Synrey was in 5 down one and Micro Bridge was in 6 down two.   In human play the deal was played six times (twice in each of the three human-team final matches).  6 was the contract three times, down one or two, 4twice, once down one and once making, and once 5, making.

Two deals later saw games made at both tables.  Q-Plus Bridge picked up 16 IMPs when making 5x as N-S and 4 as E-W.  Micro Bridge picked up 10 IMPs by making 5 as N-S and taking the good save at 5x as E-W.

Board 7
Dealer: S
Vul: Both
North
♠ 53
KQ6532
6
♣ J954
West
♠ AQ7
T972
A32
♣T86
East
♠ KT98642

KJ74
♣ 32
South
♠ J
AJ8
QT985
♣ AKQ7
West
Micro Bridge

Pass
3
Dbl
All Pass
North
Synrey Bridge

1
4
Pass
.
East
Micro Bridge

2
4
5
.
South
Synrey Bridge
1
Dbl
5
Dbl
.

Opening lead, A, -200

In human play the six final contracts, all making, were 4♠ twice, 4♠x, twice, 4 and 5 once each.

Day 6

The final pits Wbridge5. with a 12.9 IMP carryover,  against Synrey Bridge, a rematch of last year’s final.

After 32 boards Synrey Bridge leads 84 – 79.9.  With a big third quarter, 57 – 4, Wbridge5 has taken a commanding lead with 16 boards to play, 136.9 – 88.  A strong fourth quarter, 44 -14, by Synrey Bridge fell short as Wbridge5 took home the gold, 150.9 – 132.

Congratulations to six-time champion Wbridge5, and to all the bot developers for their performances and dedication to advancing bridge-bot play.

Some deals from the championship

22-Year History